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Prosecutor: More than confession is needed against Middletown mother accused of killing 6-year-old son

WCPO brittany gosney.jpeg
Posted at 10:08 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 10:08:12-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Brittany Gosney, the Middletown woman accused of running over and killing her 6-year-old son, is competent to stand trial, a ruling that paved the way for the case to move forward to trial, according to the Journal-News.

Middletown police say Gosney confessed to killing James Hutchinson, a first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary, as he clung to her minivan when she attempted to abandon him and his two siblings, Rachel and Lucas, at Rush Run Wild Life Area in Preble County on Feb. 26.

Gosney, 29, and boyfriend James Hamilton, 43, were indicted March 5 on a combined 31-count indictment for the slaying of Hutchinson and the disposal of his body days later in the Ohio River near Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

The duo is also facing felony charges for crimes against all three children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children for Gosney and kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children for Hamilton.

Hutchinson’s body has not been recovered from the river, and Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said it is not needed to prove murder, but more evidence than a confession is. Gosney and Hamilton both admitted some of their alleged crimes to investigators.

“The body for me, while I would like to have it, is unessential,” Gmoser said. “But you have to have other evidence of the factual circumstance of the crime other than a mere confession. Confessions are important, they give you a lot of direction. It helps you find other evidence. It tells your investigators where to go and where to look for other things that corroborate certain things.

“But there has to be other evidence of a crime.”

The prosecution has filed some evidence expected to be used in the case, including notice to the defense of DNA testing of two swabs from the floor of the Crawford Street house in which the family lives, records from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for “LG” and “RG,” notes of “LG” and “RG” statements, dental records and police photos.

Gosney has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and her attorney, David Washington, raised questions about her competency to stand trial. After reviewing the forensic phycological report that said Gosney was not suffering from any mental defect and was capable of understanding the charges against her, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II declared her competent to stand trial.

Washington said after the hearing that the not guilty by reason of insanity plea will be withdrawn. He also said he does not anticipate Gosney and Hamilton will be tried together.

“They need to be tried separately,” Washington said.

Court documents say Gosney and Hamilton, between Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, made efforts to “hog-tie” the hands and legs of Hutchinson and his siblings, ages 7 and 9, behind their backs and place cloths in their mouths, leaving them in that position for hours.

Hutchinson’s body was left in the house for almost 48 hours, and a concrete block was tied to his body before it was tossed in the river, according to court documents. Hutchinson’s body has not been found despite several searches in the water and along the banks of the river

Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, according to authorities.

Hamilton and Gosney are scheduled to be back in court May 24. Bond was set at $2 million for Gosney and $750,000 for Hamilton.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9 News.